HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — National Disability Employment Awareness Month will be observed here during the month of October. Highlights will include the annual wheelchair basketball game and a team sport event known as ‘Goalball.’
In the wheelchair basketball game, Team Hill leaders will play against the Ogden Wheelin’ Wildcats. Wheelchairs will be provided by the Wheelin’ Wildcats and practice is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3, with further information to be provided to those who RSVP. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at the Warrior Fitness Center on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
Goalball is a game for children ages 5-18. It is a Paralympics team sport designed for blind athletes. Goggles to simulate a vision disability will be provided to all players and multiple games will be played to ensure maximum participation. The first game is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the Youth Center on Saturday, Oct. 7.
If you would like to participate in the wheelchair basketball game or Goalball, please RSVP to Tech. Sgt. Brandon Colby at Brandon.Colby@us.af.mil or Tech. Sgt. Daniel Smith at Daniel.Smith@us.af.mil.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates back more than 70 years. Shortly after World War II, service members were returning home with disabilities and rejoining the civilian workforce. Their contributions gained public interest and in 1945, President Harry Truman declared the first week of October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” The word “physically” was eventually removed and in 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month declaring October “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”
Now, 31 days of October are dedicated to raising awareness of the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. NDEAM is a campaign spearheaded by Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.
Over 50 million, or one in every five, people in the United States have some sort of disability. No matter one’s age, ethnicity, gender, race, and/or sexual orientation, almost everyone will encounter some sort of disability in their lifetime. There are many stories of successful individuals with disabilities throughout our history. This is why awareness and NDEAM are so important. Albert Einstein wrote, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Alan Shepard was the fifth person to walk on the moon and later diagnosed with a disabling medical condition called Meniere’s disease. NASA’s medical team grounded Shepard and he chose to resign to a desk job. Nearly five years later, his flight status was reinstated and he went on to become the oldest astronaut at the age of 47. Car Brashear was a U.S. Navy diver whose leg was crushed during the deep sea retrieval of an atomic bomb, requiring amputation. After a year of recovery, he returned to Harbor Clearance Unit Two Diving School for training and became the first amputee in naval history to be restored to full active duty. Later, Brashear became the Navy’s first Black Master Diver. His accomplishments earned him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.